Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Winter draws near.

The weather forecast here in the North of England is for cold weather coming down from the Arctic tomorrow and leaving a scattering of snow on the tops.   The builder is just putting the finishing touches to the milking parlour roof as I write - he will be pleased to get it done just in time.

In the garden the last few roses of Summer are blooming in the tub by the front door.   They are so pretty - I have no idea of the variety but I have had this rose a few years and it never fails to please early and late in the season.

This morning the farmer drove me over the tops to Richmond to go to the audiology clinic to have new hearing aids fitted (in both ears for the first time - everything sounds so terribly loud this afternoon.)   On the way back we saw that they are burning the heather all round us.

The grouse-shooting season finished last weekend and the game keepers like to get on with the heather burning straight away if the weather is right - and it is at the moment.   The purpose of burning the heather (which they do in controlled patches throughout the moor) is to encourage the young shoots to grow back green and healthy.   Grouse more or less live on heather and they eat the young shoots and the seeds they produce.   Each patch is burnt once every four years.  I must say that it produces the most beautiful smell which wafts over the moor as the day wears on.   Columns of white smoke drift along and today these extend the full length of the moors on all sides.

Christmas cake number two is in the oven as I write this - smells good.   Two down, two to go.  I always feel well on course when I have done all four.  Christmas Day is three weeks tomorrow it you need a reminder!

The first of the cows who overwinter in our Loose housing came in this morning.   There has been such a lot of late grass this year that has been ideal for dry cows, who don't have to be fed to encourage the milk yield.   But now that they are in they have settled in quickly, lying down in the deep straw and only getting up to come to their troughs when I went down there at lunch time with a few savoy cabbage leaves cut from the outside of our lunchtime cabbage.   I must say I like the Winter cows in = it happens every year and emphasises a sense of continuity on the farm.

Get in the logs, get out the hats and scarves, be ready for that first icy blast!

17 comments:

Pondside said...

We are having our first wintry blast here, too. I came back to the hotel last night through the snow. Funny, I lived for so long in snowy places, but I have rapidly lost my confidence in driving in snowy conditions.
I'd love to smell the burning heather!

Gwil W said...

The title of your post made me smile because I was reminded of the old seaside postcard joke 'Winter draws on'.

Crafty Green Poet said...

It was beautifully mild here today but we're bracing outselves for that first icy blast...

by the way, my photos aer of Blackleach in Salford

MorningAJ said...

You can really mark the turning of the year when you have a farm. I used to see it when I lived back in Scarborough (well, in a dairy farming village near Scarborough!). Before you know it there will be calves again - and curding milk! Mmmm. Yorkshire curd tart. That's something I miss.

Heather said...

That rose is a wonderful colour and such a pretty shape - no wonder you love it. Lovely smells inside and out for you today. I have just realised why I don't look forward to Christmas any more - my husband and my mother always commented on how much work it made for me, even though I told them I enjoyed all the preparations. I got so fed up in the end that I started buying everything. Next year I plan to go back to making it all and enjoy myself.
Get plenty of logs in and keep cosy.

Elizabeth Wix said...

Such pretty roses!

John Gray said...

It's getting colder here
I am typing this with my scarf on x

angryparsnip said...

I am happy you posted a photo of the rose especially so late in the season.
I would love to see a photo of the cows who winter with you.

cheers, parsnip

Terry and Linda said...

Interesting that the arctic is sending frigid temps to you also. It must be swirling and twirling to get everyone in the northern half of the globe!!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Dominic Rivron said...

It's interesting to look down on the moors on Google Maps. What looks like a wild expanse at eye-level is often in fact a chequer-board of rectangular segments, systematically burnt or allowed to grow. I am always interested by the fact that landscapes that look wild are often in fact carefully managed. I've heard it said that most of our hills would be covered with trees, left to their own devices.

Dartford Warbler said...

Hello Weaver,
I seem to have lost you on my following list, so I have rejoined and hope it works! I hope all is well with you.

I can imagine the satisfaction of getting the cows in and beginning the winter routine.
I`m sure your cakes must have smelled delicious while they were baking.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

We too are getting our first blast of cold Alaskan air - but just a dribble of snow, which is mostly gone now - and we are expecting below freezing temperatures for our highs for the next week - time to bundle up. I love your pretty little rose that is still blooming.

thousandflower said...

The icy blast hit us here yesterday and is predicted to last over a week. So we are hunkered down.

Virginia said...

We are heading towards a warm summer here in New Zealand, but there are still the Christmas rituals to observe! Our Christmas cake is made and will be iced in a few days. Instead of christmas Plum pudding I go for a mixture of marinaded (that should be macerated I think?) fruit mince mixed into softened iced cream... much more suitable for our climate. More and more people are doing the BBQ rather than hot roasted meats too.

What a lovely rose. And I add my voice to Angry Parsnip's - cows are such beautiful animals and yours have every reason to be contented, do let's see them please.

Gwil W said...

Pat, re the tidbits for the horse, those original schoolboy lozenges contained a controlled substance
;-)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Gwil - no need for the reminder, I have had my winter draws on for a long time!
Very stormy here this morning.
Thanks for calling.

thelma said...

Gosh the weather looked pretty bad up North, the storm has just passed us down here in Essex and the lights have flickered once or twice but it is the coast line which is in trouble with the spring tides expected to bring flooding.....